FIJI has joined the United Nations Environment Program's Committee of Permanent Representatives — a move that comes as Fiji continues to battle problems of climate change and rising sea levels.
Fiji's high commissioner to South Africa, Beniamino Salacakau, who is also Fiji's permanent representative to the United Nations Environment Program attended the committee meeting in Nairobi this week for the first time.
Fiji was invited as a member following the presentation of Mr Salacakau's credentials to the executive director last month.
A statement from the Ministry of Information yesterday said Fiji was welcomed to the committee and Mr Salacakau expressed Fiji's honour to be a member of such an important committee at a time when environmental issues were becoming increasingly important.
Mr Salacakau also informed the meeting that Fiji's recent chairmanship of the G77+ China had ignited a desire for continuing engagement in the discussions and activities on those pertinent issues.
One of the issues discussed in the meeting was Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and UNEP's contribution to the SIDS conference in Samoa in September.
Meanwhile, UNEP is opening regional offices. It is most probable that the regional office for the Pacific will be located in Samoa.
Fiji is the only Pacific Nation participating in the UNEP meeting.
Three other SIDS countries that are part of the Committee of Permanent Representatives are Cuba, Mauritius and Comoros.
2014 has been declared by the UN as "The Year of SIDS."
It is a great opportunity to bring to the fore issues in relation to Small Island Developing States.